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Maruti Suzuki Becomes First Indian Car Manufacturer to Display Fuel Economy Labels

SIAM’s fuel economy label. Click to enlarge.

Maruti Suzuki India Limited, the India subsidiary of Suzuki Motors, is the first Indian automaker to comply with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers’ (SIAM) Voluntary Labeling Program. The program, announced in September 2008, calls for all member companies to make a voluntary disclosure of fuel economy by end of March 2009.

Maruti Suzuki had its complete range of 12 brands tested at the three government-approved test agencies: ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) Pune; VRDE (Vehicles Research and Development Establishment) Ahmednagar and ICAT (International Centre of Automotive Technology) Manesar. The test results are:

Rated Fuel Economy of Maruti Suzuki Vehicles, 2009
Model Segment Fuel Rated
mpg US
M800 A1 gasoline 16.1 6.2 37.9
Omni C gasoline 16.9 5.9 39.8
VERSA C gasoline 12.7 7.9 29.9
Alto A2 gasoline 18.1 5.5 42.6
Zen Estilo A2 gasoline 17.3 5.8 40.7
Wagon R A2 gasoline 17.0 5.9 40.0
A Star A2 gasoline 19.6 5.1 46.1
Swift diesel A2 diesel 21.0 4.8 49.4
Swift gasoline A2 gasoline 15.9 6.3 37.4
Dzire gasoline A3 gasoline 15.9 6.3 37.4
Dzire diesel A3 diesel 21.0 4.8 49.4
SX4 A3 gasoline 15.0 6.7 35.3
Gypsy MUV gasoline 11.3 8.6 26.6
Grand Vitara MUV gasoline 11.2 8.9 26.3

India and fuel economy standards. Currently, India measures fuel economy for two-, three- and four-wheeled vehicles with GVW up to 3.5 tonnes (7,718 lbs) on the basis of the driving cycle used for emission testing, as per the carbon balance method during emission testing.

For passenger cars, the modified Indian Driving Cycle is a lower speed variant of the New European Driving Cycle—a maximum speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) instead of 120 km/h (75 mph)—to reflect the lower maximum speed practicable in India.

The fuel economy of light motor vehicles (≤7.5 tonnes), medium motor vehicles (> 7.5 tonnes to ≤12 tonnes), and heavy motor vehicles (>12 tonnes) is measured using a constant speed fuel consumption test (per IS:19921:1993). Light motor vehicles are tested at 50 km/h (31 mph); medium and heavy motor vehicles are tested at 40 km/h (25 mph) and 60 km/h (37 mph).

Neither the manufacturers nor the Pune-based vehicle certification center Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) had shared the specific results of those measurements on a per model basis, however.

In a 2007, the average fuel economy for gasoline passenger cars in India was 14.56 km/L (equivalent to 6.9 L/100km, or 34 mpg US), according to a presentation given by ARAI at a 2007 seminar on fuel economy standards in India. Average fuel economy for diesel passenger cars was 16.55 km/L (equivalent to 6.0 L/100km or 38.9 mpg US). Average CO2 emissions were 161.6 g/km for gasoline cars and 152.89 g/km for diesels. (Measurements made for the BS-III emission standard.)

Concerned about the energy supply, air quality and climate change implications of the country’s growing vehicle parc (as well as a trend to larger and more powerful vehicles), the government of India is developing mandatory fuel-efficiency standards for all classes and types of vehicles, including cars, scooters, bikes, trucks, buses and three-wheelers as part of its 11th Five-year plan (2007-2012). (Earlier post.)

In India, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is the statutory authority that will implement the fuel economy standards. BEE appointed the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA)—an autonomous research body under the Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas, and responsible for fuel conservation measures in different sectors—as the technical advisory body for setting these standards.

The 11th Five-year plan (2007-2012) advocates a combination of polices—including tougher regulations, financial incentives, continued R&D, and consumer education and marketing—to ensure that the vehicles sold during the next few decades should be “Gas Sippers” rather than “Gas Guzzlers”.

The current fuel economy standards should be averaged for each category and may be increased by 8% per year during the XI Plan and 5% beyond the end of XI Plan. This way, the average fuel economy of all new cars, commercial vehicles and two wheelers would increase by about 45 percent by 2012. It also promulgates that the Vehicle manufacturers will protest and say “it can’t be done” or “it will cost a fortune,” but would comply as experience in the US indicates that when the original US CAFE standards were debated, the car manufacturers complied with the original standards at reasonable cost and with high consumer acceptance.

—PCRA background on Fuel Efficiency Standards and Labeling in India



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